This week you’d best have your slide rules and telescopes handy, because Space Cabby is going to bust out the SCIENCE! on you.
We waste no time in getting right to the action! By the first story panel something wacky is happening to our hero!
The mists dissipate and Space Cabby forgets about them as he receives a call on his space-radio to pick up six passengers on Pluto. Alas, his cab can only hold three. But when he gets to Pluto and picks up three fares, the passengers — two men and a woman — comment about how “roomy” the vehicle is. Space Cabby’s thought-processes and priorities being what they are, he immediately hauls three more people in, now doubling the amount of money he’ll make! How is this possible? Whence this dramatic change? These are some very good questions, folks, but: money!
By the next panel, though, SC can no longer ignore what’s going on around him.
Understandably, his passengers begin freaking out, but he urges them to keep calm even as he proves the cab is getting bigger by showing them how large it is compared to a nearby “space-lighthouse”.
Within moments, Space Cabby hits upon what is clearly the only logical explanation for this turn of events.
Of course! The focal point of the expanding universe! I bet you’re feeling dumb for not having recognized it right away.
He attempts to land on Saturn, but they have a strict “no giant spaceships” policy. They’re not alone, either; nobody will let him land! And the cab keeps getting bigger!
They approach Earth, where the oversized vehicle appears as a comet, but what can they do? They can’t “jump out” in the emergency space-suits because those too have gotten absurdly large. They’re trapped! And that’s when things get worse.
The moon. Falls out. Of the sky. This doesn’t happen because of anything to do with the problem at hand, it’s just something that clearly was going to take place sooner or later and just happened to do so today. The timing could not be worse. Still, faster than you can say, “Look out, Chewbacca!”* Space Cabby comes up with a plan. All he needs to do is reach the controls on his dashboard, but thanks to the pesky focal point of the expanding universe, the dashboard is now 1000 miles away from the seat, “well out of our reach!” Even standing on each others’ shoulders they still have…well, 1000 miles to go.
Luckily the cord for the microphone is nearly 1000 miles long now, as the microphone is dangling nearby. Space Cabby hollers into it, asking Earth to send up a remote-controlled spaceship. They do so in a jiffy, and nobody worries about the hole it makes entering the ship, because the hole is so small compared to the cab that it will take “hours” for all the air to escape. Space Cabby climbs in the ship and hurls it at his controls.
Using the spaceship as a ram, he slams into buttons until
HE STOWS THE MOON IN HIS TRUNK, FOLKS. THE MOON. IN HIS TRUNK. You can bet that for weeks afterwards, when he pulled his fares’ luggage out of there he said, “Let me make sure there’s no moon dust on that! After all, I had the moon in there not long ago. You heard me right, friend. The moon.”
A few more rams of the spaceship and he steers out to 243,000 miles, releasing the moon back into its previous orbit. The Earth is saved!
But they’re still in a jam. Sure, they could leave in the spaceship from earth, but that wouldn’t solve the problem of the ever-expanding cab, which would eventually threaten all life! What to do? Well, the universe and the cab aren’t the only vast things around here — there’s also Space Cabby’s intellect! And he gets a great idea!
See, variable Cepheid stars expand and contract! Space Cabby flies the cab to Mira, which is currently contracting, and the “radiations” from the star cause the cab to contract as well. These “shrinkage” forces cancel the expansion forces from the focal point of the expanding universe and voila! The cab stays stable at a huge size! Ha! I kid, folks, it begins shrinking until it returns to normal.
(At some point during the shrinking process three of the passengers climb into the Earth spaceship and leave, since there won’t be any room for them or it once the cab returns to normal. This isn’t stated anywhere, but it’s obvious this has to happen. Don’t worry, Schwartz, I got your back.)
When the cab gets back to Earth, everything is back to normal again, including Space Cabby grousing because the terrified passengers all run off without paying him. This is offset by the discovery that his heroic efforts in saving the planet singlehandedly from certain Armageddon due to the crashing moon have not gone unnoticed by the citizens of Earth!
Free gas for a year, folks. Earth’s gratitude is as huge as the space cab used to be!
Next week: One-Way Ride to Eternity!
“The Expanding Space-Taxi!”
Mystery in Space #36 (February-March 1957)
Writer: Otto Binder
Penciler: Gil Kane
Inker: Bernard Sachs
Editor: Julius Schwartz
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